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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

EXPERIMENT IN STATE CAPITALISM            71

for him, for there were certainly older, better, and sounder scholars,
such as Fan Chungyen, Szema Kuang, Ouyang Shiu, Tseng Kung-
liang, and others, who were inclined to look askance at any radical
reforms and who commanded sufficient popular prestige to discourage
any young man with newfangled ideas. Wang Anshih bided his time.
But I think psychologically there was another reason. A man of
Wang's temperament had to be the boss wherever he was, and when
serving as a magistrate in an outlying district, he was the big frog in
a little puddle. Again and again, when he was in the capital holding
some office for a short time, he quarrelled with his colleagues and
upset everything. He wanted to change the rules and run things in
his own way. Wu Kuei and Chang Fangping both recalled such ex-
periences of difficult co-operation with him as a colleague or even as
a junior official.

In 1060, therefore, he had come to the capital as a rather strange
phenomenon. He had written good prose and poems. He had original
ideas and was a good talker. The high-ranking old officials such as
Fu Pi and Wen Yenpo had the best opinion of hima and even Ouyang
Shiu liked him. Here was a singular man beneath whose strange
appearance lay talents and character the officials could not quite fathom.
Among the few people who saw through Wang'Anshih's character
and considered him a great danger to the country were Su Shim and
his old friend Chang Fangping. The latter had worked with him as a
^colleague in supervising certain local examinations, had dismissed him
ahd never talked with him again. He must have told Su Shun about
his experiences with Wang in his early days. The two, therefore, in-
tensely disliked Wang, the more for what they considered his affecta-
tions in dress and habits. Ouyang Shiu had introduced Wang to
Tungpo's father, and Wang himself was desirous of making the
acquaintance of the Sus, but Su senior refused to see him. When
Wang's mother died, of all the invited guests, Su Shim refused to *
attend the funeral and wrote the famous Pien Chien Lun, or "Essay
on the Hypocrite", one of the most popular essays for school reading
today.

In this essay Su Shun started by pointing out how difficult it was to
know a man's character and how often even clever people were
deceived. Only the quiet observer could see through a man's character
and foretell his future development. He quoted an ancient scholar who
was able to foretell about Wang Yen when the latter was a brilliant
young man distinguished for his appearance, and another great general
who was able to foretell about Lu Chi, who was more or less respon-
sible for bringing an end to the Tang dynasty. Lu Chi was a scheming
person of great ability but so fearfully ugly that, in receiving him,
the host had to dismiss all his female entertainers for fear that the